Expect Microsoft (MSFT) to consolidate its Windows 8, Windows Phone and Windows RT operating systems into a single version at some point, according to comments made by Julie Larson-Green, Microsoft’s Devices and Studios executive vice president, at the UBS Global Technology Conference Nov. 21.
“We have the Windows Phone OS. We have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We're not going to have three,” said Larson-Green, responding to a question on Windows RT’s future.
“We do think there's a world where there is a more mobile operating system that doesn't have the risks to battery life, or the risks to security,” she said. “But, it also comes at the cost of flexibility. So we believe in that vision and that direction and we're continuing down that path."
Asked specifically about Windows’ future, Larson-Green said: “We've been working on becoming more modern in our thinking, both in the cloud infrastructure and how you access that to build applications, and run your business, and in the operating system itself. And thinking about how Windows can scale from a small device to a large device up to a server, and the power that gives developers and IT professionals to manage those devices, and to give information out to people in their business no matter where they are.”
But there was more to Larson-Green’s comments than Windows consolidation—some clues, perhaps, to Microsoft’s thinking on wearable computing devices.
“Sensors are going to become a big part of how you think about things,” she said. “Some of the things we've been talking about—you see all these fitness devices that people wear on their wrists and they do some interesting things. What's the extension of that? What are the sensors and things that we could build that would help you in your daily life …”
There have been rumors for some time now that Microsoft is fiddling with a large-display smartwatch that could connect with its Surface tablet, and may be working on eyeglasses similar to Google’s (GOOG) Glass device.
As for Windows Phone, Larson-Green said Microsoft is gaining traction for the mobile OS outside of the United States.
“We're seeing momentum in mobile outside the United States in places like Italy where Windows Phone is approaching 20 percent market share," she said. And so there are business model things as well such as in unsubsidized markets, where we do better than in subsidized markets like the U.S.”